tv The Rachel Maddow Show MSNBC February 1, 2011 12:00am-1:00am EST
dental care for all. i know that's coming. thank you very much for joining us >> thank you. >> that's tonight's last word. you can go to our blog and the rachel maddow show is up next with much more on the crisis in egypt. thank you very much for that. thanks to you at home for staying with us for the next hour. ready? it's 1859. imagine it is the year 1859 and you have something you want to move from india to england. how do you move that box of tea or something from bombay to london? since it's 1859, if you want to send it by boat, you will be sailing all the way around africa. you can take a right at the cape of good hope and 12,000 miles into your journey you will find yourself in england. back some limes, you are going to get skurvey. it's a long trip.
they started digging a shorter route. 10 years later that meant huh a new option. you saved yourself 5,000 miles of transit. for that you can thank the sort cut dug through egypt. you can thank the suez canal. it transits 10% of the ocean-going freight in the world. it may be an 1800s kind of idea, but if you want a tanker full of crude from saudi arabia to houston, you can go through the canal or add 12 days to your trip around the bottom of africa. as egypt under goes what really and truly looks like a revolution, the suez canal is open. even as we got reports of other ports closing and shortages and price spikes in food and gas and cash, suez is open. at suez, america is first in line. it's true. of all the ships in the world that want to take egypt's save
you 5,000 miles shortcut, vessels of the u.s. navy get to jump the line. vessels get expedited processing through the suez canal. why is that? because america and egypt, we are way more up in egypt's business than most of us think when protests broke out, it was clear that the protests were big enough to call the question of how much force? he was here at the pentagon the chief of the egyptian military and top brass were in the united states meeting with our military when the protests broke out that was not answered particularly news worthy before the protests broke out. all the top egyptian brass meeting with the top american military is a normal thing.
it happens all the time. every other year egypt hosts war games that we participate in. it happens every two years. the egyptian fly overs to spook the protesters that you may have read about, those fly overs were made in american-made f 16s that they bought from us and chinook helicopters as well. they bought so many m-1, a-1 tanks from us, we started shipping in parts so they could assemble them in egypt they are still american tanks, but some assembly required the only count rye that buys more weapons or gets more money from the united states is israel. egypt is second only to israel. that was set in motion in the 70s when egypt signed a peace deal. our part of the deal that endures is the $2 billion we
send egypt every year, most for their military and us getting to go first in line at the suez canal and us calling this guy president as if we think the way he stays in office is by elections. the protesters in egypt have reportedly been screaming the same chant as the protesters in tunisia. the people want to bring down the regime. the people want to bring down the regime. in alexandria, the protesters were chanting illegitimate which is what they think of the president they think he is an illegitimate leader. it looks like a revolution and that history of mubarak's legitimacy on which the drama and the politics and the ethics
of all of this tilt. they spoke about the situation and he spoke in generally supportive terms of both the egyptian people and protesters's demands and said that governments must derive their power from consent and not coercion. if that's true, on days like this, you have to answer the question. does the united states believe that mubarak holes power legitimately? is he the leader of egypt or illegitimate? his party is called the national democratic party. there were parliamentary elections this past november. 518 seats were at stake. when he got done counting the votes, 500 of the 518 seats went for his own party. the election before that, more than 50,000 local council seats at stake and when he got done counting the vote, 92% of those seats went for his own party. the election before that in 2
thousand 7, a 30 of the upper house was at stake. 88 seats being voted on and 84 of the 88 went for his party. that didn't. no wait. of the remaining four, three went to other members of mr. mubarak's party. he won 87 of the 88 seats in that election when he was done counting. not bad for a supposed democracy. the united states does not only support governments around the world that are legitimate in the eyes of its people. today the people of egypt are in effect calling us out on that. they are saying out loud we know our leader is illegitimate and we do not support him we want him gone. they are saying does america agree? as the sun rose, protesters were camped out in liberation square
to demand the rezilation. i have seen it repeated in the second largest city. as the focus of the protesters rage and he swore in his new government, two days after he fired his old cabinet, his new vice president, suleman announced he intends to talk with the opposition in a movement as organic and grass roots as this one. regardless, none of the promises has stopped the protests nor stopped hundreds of foreigners from the weekend. the police were back today and some welcome them back. others accuse them of being part of the corrupt regime that chanted we don't want you. they cordoned off liberation square and have gotten into a
few alterications and crucially promised in an official statement today that they will not use force against peaceful protesters and turn their guns on their people if the demonstrations are peaceful and it could be a turning point for the up rising. demonstrators say they want a million people to take to the streets tomorrow. >> it's getting to be stronger every day. tomorrow there is an announcement. it was off the internet and they were telling everybody and each other there will be over one million egyptians. we will never subside. we will never ever abate. >> all internet providers are downright now. almost all were down before today and now all are down. egypt's information ministry plans to shut down all mobile fote networks ahead of the march, giving advanced notice of that.
protesters are out in the square tonight. humans of thens are expected to join them tomorrow morning this is a big deal. the world is tilting on its axis. this is the biggest country in the arab world, our country, the most powerful in the world, we plighted our trough for 30 years with the man in charge who may be getting overthrown by his own people. the other force that we are linked with, the military, that is the force that signalled they may let the overthrow happen. multiple live reports with the al jazeera reporters are the former ambassador and lots to learn. this is a big hour ahead. stay with us . get 'em boys! ♪ ♪ [ all slurping ]
ho meowners , rates have been going up, but you can still refinance to a fixed rate as low as 4.5% at lendingtree.com, where customers save an average of $293 a month. call lendingtree today. it is our self-centered curse that we look for the american connection in every international news story. it leads to excitement over things like say twitter and how important twitter is to what's going on in egypt. for the record, i think twitter is awesome, but i do not think it's the key to the up rising in egypt. particularly because for the most part, egyptians haven't had access to the internet for days. it is an american angle and we look for recognizable american angles that take place far, far
away. i am as guilty as anybody. i think it's an understandable thing and it is embarrassing, but it can be helpful. when the vice president of egypt declared he would talk with opposition leaders about government reforms and the government redo disputed elections and suleman appeared on television this afternoon to say those things, it was helpful to remember the american context in which you might have heard of this guy before. the new yorker's jane mayer reminded us that omar suleman, the vice president of egypt was the cia's point man in egypt for renditions, the covert program in which the cia snatched terror suspects from around the world and returned them to egypt for interrogation, often under brutal circumstances n. reporting for the dark side, jay mayer was told by the ambassador that omar suleman was cog zandt
there was a downside. he was not squeamish, by the way. from an admittedly chauvinist chauvinistically america perspective, the two choices that we understand for the leadership in egypt are to the guy from which we outsourced torter from the bush administration or this guy who won the nobel peace price for being right about wmd in iraq and the bush administration was wrong. from this great distance, 5600 miles between here and cairo, looking from america, that's what the choices look like. that does more about the way we look at things than about why. it's getting to things from closer up. he grew up in cairo and
reporting on the up rising since saturday. thank you very much for joining us. >> thank you for having me. >> most of the reporting out of egypt said this protest movement and the up rise suggest pretty organic and leaderless. it is not led by any one group. having been on the ground all weekend, is that the impression you have? >> i agree with that. this is a letterless movement that cuts across political lines and gender lines. it brought tens or hundreds of thousands of egyptians to the streets of cairo and other cities across the country. it is a mass up rising and the likes of which many egyptians including myself never thought we would see during mubarak's reign. i heard you talk about the demand and those are not the two poll that people are considering.
the demand when this all started on the ouster of the regime. that regime includes suleman and the people say they didn't ask to name a cabinet. what they are calling for is the removal order that kept them poor and hungry and imprisoned and tortured them and completely silenced the voices and what they are doing is making their voices heard. a respected figure, his rep station all tarnished. many that i speak to here said he lived out of the country and he joined the earlier protests and what a lot of people are calling for is after his ouster which they are sure they are going to achieve, it'so have a
sort of coalition that will include all groups and that will include the muslim brotherhood and include the april sixth youth movement and opposition groups. just to clarify, all of the groups, the step one is the ouster of the regime. speaking to you right now, it's about 4:20 a.m. cairo time. they are quiet and the streets are empty, but in about five hours from now, it will be filled for what is expected to be the biggest march of the up rising. the biggest gathering. hundreds of thousands are there and a few hundred yards from the square. the communications have been
cutoff. what i've heard is that in addition gathering here, they will stage a march towards the residence in another part of cairo. this is a big act of defiance we have been cutoff since friday. cairo is one of the biggest cities with 18 million people. we haven't had internet access since friday. one isp was open and it was available in other places. we are expecting the cell phones to be shut down also. this is another form of orkz pregz. they spoke briefly to when they shut off internet access and not since. the state department called
about the government and the relief of the six journalists who were arrested this morning and they can call the government to turn the internet back on. >> is there worry about the prospect of state violence and the police groups or from the army? >> the internal state security forces were overwhelmed and the demonstrators won on friday. we haven't seen any police since then. they have been completely taken out of the city. they have been reaffirmed and the despised police and security forces have been beaten and what is replaced at the military. the egyptian people are close to the military and they do not
feel the way they feel about the police they haven't done torture and repressed by the military. the last time they had an interaction was 1973 when there was a war with israel. a lot of the chants in the square are the army, the people, one hand they have seen protesters carry military soldiers, cheering them on. they are convinced and the head of the military. it remains to be seen, but it's hard to imagine the violence from what i have seen in the last few days >> the senior producer for democracy now. thank you very much for joining us and sharing with us your perspective. it's good to have you with us >> thank you, rachel. >> more to come including more detail on what he was just
talking about in terms of the communications being cutoff. this was covered last week and since changed. it changed dramatically and heading into tomorrow. the protests are expected to start in about five hours we will have more details on that and the next big thing to watch for in this ginormous and unfolding story. to actually merge with your skin. you get skin twin coverage that's perfectly true. and you're more perfectly you. [ female announcer ] plus, with trublend, you always get a perfect match. if you're a shade 1 here, you're a 1 here... and here. how easy breezy beautiful is that? trublend...from covergirl. nothing starts your day like honey roasted, honey bunches of oats. the perfect balance of crunchy flakes and clusters, with a kiss of golden honey. delicious. and the same calories per serving as special k original. so, try honey roasted, honey bunches of oats! heck try 'em all.
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and turned out to be a really big day in egypt. they called a day of rage. organizers are calling with a huge day of protest tomorrow in cairo and alexandria, egypt's two largest cities. they call it the march of a million in hopes of ark tracting the biggest crowds yet they predicted whatever happened on friday, the up rising would be over by now. surely a nearly 30-year-old regime with the emergency powers that has not happened by a long shot. i am not always the brightest bulb on the tree, but i know enough not to predict what will happen tomorrow in alexandria. it's crucial that we will be watching and keep you posted on all of it here. [ male announcer ] a chicken coop:
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had their web traffic go dark all at once. it was eerie. all but one of egypt's isps. one small isp in egypt is still up and ruining. the group services about 8% of the internet including several businesses and the american university in cairo and powers the stock exchange. on friday, when i tweeted a link to the egyptian stock exchange, the link i tweeted still worked even though the internet had supposedly gone dark and every other website for everything else in egypt was down. today they is spen suspense is . they have been told that tomorrow the government will be shutting down all mobile phone networks. this is in advance of the big plan march due tomorrow which is
due tomorrow in egypt which is about hours ahead of us. it is of material importance whether or not people in egypt can communicate with each other to organize. it may be as important that what happens in egypt can be known to the rest of the world. it's important for understanding this story to know how difficult it has been to do journalism from egypt. al jazeera had their license to broadcast and also said they had six of the reporters arrested and detained in egypt. it was without cameras and laptops and phones if you are a journalist, it makes it hard to do your job. thank you very much for your time. >> good to be with you. >> how concerned are you for the safety of your staff? are they safe and able to do their jobs? >> i think a lot of news
organizations have people there in egypt concerned. we are certainly concerned. in receipt days, some of the people there have been arrested they have been beaten. they have been harassed. some of them are hiding. it's a very difficult situation. still able to do the story because they all know how important it is for people not just inside of egypt, but throughout the mideast and beyond, including here in the united states to know what's going on inside of egypt. you expecting a further escalation of the censorship you have been subject to? >> the measures that the egyptian government has resorted to are drastic as they are. switching off the question kwensy and it was one such
measure. they had to switch the broadcasting and what they are trying to do despite the reasons they gave that al jazeera is insighting this or that, but trying to ban any news organization at this particular moment in the country's history is basically like trying to hide from the sun behind a seive. they continue to cover this story and they have not stopped the contact in the crowds. communicating information and they screened. it just increases the suspicion of the public of what that government is doing. on the other hand it's somewhat enforcing the popularity of the channel in that part of the
world. >> what is your response to the claims or the accusations from the government in egypt and other sites that you have taken a side. by publicizing the marches and the demonstrations and the up rising in egypt and places like tunisia and the reporting you have done in the other cases you are essentially making the case of the demonstrators for them . >> this is an accusation that they had before. if true or not true, it has over a decade now adjusted and learned to do the viewers they want to do despite the measures that follow those accusations with the situation in iraq way back in 2004.
al jazeera conditioned to provide coverage. the fact that the situation is a moment us time in the history, this is a massive story of consequence, not just the egyptia egyptians, but the united states. if you air news organization or if you are twittering or facebooking or whatever, you have to find a way to deal with the story and bring it to light. >> because you have done so much of the on the ground reporting, a considerable danger in some cases. i feel like if you feel supported by american media organizations, especially with the history you were describing during the iraq war and the government so demonizing al jazeera, do you feel they stand with you in solidarity or feel like you are sort of doing this
on your own? >> there is always been some support. there is always been solidarity not from news organizations, but organizations that deal with the concerns of the media as a whole. such organizations are making quite a big noise. the situation that al jazeera faces today is in the context of a country that is pivotal and beyond. the specific case of the crew of al jazeera detained, in the detaining in the hotel, it took a reaction from the u.s. department, they had to release them and luckily that happened. that's the bright side.
this is a time when news organizations like al jazeera are doing everything they can to bring to light this important story and to help them keep up. it's a complex story. >> the washington bureau chief of al jazeera. good luck with the coverage and we wish good luck and safety to the staff. >> thank you. >> we are americans. that means we support the will of democracy-loving humans everywhere, right? we can't seem to stop from popping up dictators for decades. the awkward situation from which president obama has tried to address the situation in egypt. he finds himself on the eve of what is expected to potentially be a million protesters flooding cairo's streets. what mr. obama can be and cannot do and what we think he might do, coming up.
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this is a concern. you said orderly transition. why are you hesitating. you are saying the united states's position is an orderly regime change. is that correct? >> again, i want to be careful because i don't want you to put wors in my mouth any more. >> you are call for example a change in government. >> we are calling for a change in the way the country works. >> i want the egyptian people to have a chance to chart a new future. >> this is a chan sigz to real democracy. >> the perception of the government is still back. >> i do not think the protesters will be by the notion that somebody in a series of building several thousand miles away determined the extent to what that means for them. that is for the people of egypt
to decide and to come. >> one time in a job interview i tried to use the word a swaged. i said a is youaged. that really happened. the israelis and leaders wanted a delay, but they said get on with it. the palestinians vote and elected hamas rather than the party that the bush administration was hoping for. for a while you didn't hear much from the bush administration about the elections. ultimately a couple of years later, liz cheney said that those palestinian elections had been a bad idea. the elections were a mistake because they did not produce the united states's desired electoral outcome. democracy is a process, not an out come.
the other rub is that the administration right now is trying to be on the right side of history to be on the side of people. the people are saying clearly they are against the storm we have been propping up. not enough tension there for you? consider the prospect of backlash. if they support what appears to be a revolution in egypt, is it possible that that support would then taint that revolution as pro western or pro american. america loves the idea in theory of the arab nations welcoming places where people elect leaders in fair elections. the government loves that idea in theory. in theory though. that's the important point. joining us now is a former u.s.
ambassador and a mideast peace negotiator and the director at the brookings institution. thank you very much for your time. >> nice to be here. >> unlike the obama administration that tiptoed around printives, you have been vocal in what you think should happen. you said president mubarak and the vice president should go and the military should free and fair elections. why can you they as an ambassador, but the u.s. government can't? >> because i don't speak for the u.s. government. pure and simple. i think he articulated the dilemma they face very clearly. on the other hand they have moved rapidly from the position earlier last week of saying we are from reform to sunday and
secretary clinton said transition. transition clearly means transition away from mubarak to a new era brought on by democratic elections. i think they are signalling clearly in a lot of different ways. they said very early on that they would be reviewing military aid. that was a signal not to use a dare. today when mubarak announced a new government, they said it's not good enough and they had a veteran diplomat and former u.s. ambassador to cairo where as i understand it, his job is to speak to president mubarak. they will be telling him it's time to go. for the united states government to publicly pull the rug out
from under mubarak would be to number one get ahead of the people and say washington decides these matters. there is also the demonstration effect. a lot of other authoritarians that are the allies. saudi arabia and the other gulf emirates. they are wonder figure they can rely on the united states. as you said, we are walking a very difficult line, but i think the administration is making it clear that it is on the side of change. it's on the side of a new democratic elections for a new leadership in egypt. >> let me ask you about one tactical question in this diplomatic dance, i guess. are american officials making appearances on arabic language tv channels at this point?
should they prioritize doing that? >> probably. i don't think they are doing that at the moment. partly because the arab interviewers are likely to be a lot more pressing than the polite people like you. >> i will take that as a grave insult. thank you. >> that is say compliment. . >> there is the great atmospheric problem and the united states is in support of the protesters and it is willing to support regime change. in egypt, is only in the context of the fact that the united states made the mubarak presidency possible in so many ways over the past 30 years. will the arab world ever care what we have to say anymore about strong men given our record of propping them up? >> propping them up is a strong
word. mubarak is the fearer of egypt. he stands at the top of a military regime and took power in 1952 in a revolution where they overthrew the former king. he stands on his own two feet. the united states has worked closely with him for a number of very good reasons. they have served american interests very well. he made peace with israel. that was the critical breakthrough which made it impossible for other arab leaders to consider making war with israel. it began the peace process. i think you would agree that resolving the israeli conflict is a good thing he played a very important role. when it came to taking on saddam
hussein, mubarak was supportive and he gave cover and logistical support. when it comes to afghanistan, the way we can use egypt as a transit group and through the suez canal is very important. there many interests which is served by the seap with mubarak >> she well-served by $2 billion a year. the egyptian military is the tenth largest in the world because it is full of f 16 said and chinook helicopters and the missiles and all the rest of it. we may not be propping him up, but i'm not sure he is on his own two feet given that it's the second largest u.s. aid after israel. >> they are receiving the
milita military aid because he made peace. egypt gets on the other hand 1.3 billion the silver lining if you are looking for it in that military relationship, that does give us influence today. we train and equip and pay for and exercise with and with the egyptian military. the word is coming from our generals to their generals. don't even think about firing. the military in egypt today is so critical, the vice president is a military man. if things are going to go peacefully, he is going to have to at a certain point brick from mubarak and tell him it's time to go and then oversee hopefully
an orderly process and peaceful process of holding democratic elections for a new president. >> it is subtle and fraught and complicated and fascinating. former u.s. ambassador to israel and the peace negotiator and foreign policy director at brookings. thank you very much for your insight. appreciate it. >> the foreign wars have not done it. the health and well being of the americans have not done it. there is a truce in washington. there is a truce among most american politicians on this issue of this revolution thing happening in the arab world. the people who are not part of the truce turns out are hilarious. that's next. st: cod itching to o really save you 15% or more on car insurance?
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it took what looks like a revolution, but we found the issue on which democrats and republicans do not disagree. the most dominant story in the news over the u.s. when something important is happening a half world away, that sidelines the press in the beltway. the press in d.c. and the beltway press gets annoyed. you see the beltway press trying to find the partisan story to tell and the red versus blue, republican versus democrat story to about what's happening halfway around the world in the most populous country in the arab world. the blue-red divide is not there. you can imagine it, but the republican democrat divide is not there now. >> i think the administration, our administration so far handled this sensetation pretty well. >> the important thing is the
president made the right statement and the secretary of statement did. >> i don't have criticism of president obama or secretary clinton at this point. >> i'm generalizing, but when it comes to democratic leadership, obama, clinton and the congress maybe will disagree later, but politics have sort of stopped at the water's edge. the water has an edge. here's skbrm barack obama together with the edge standing united. there boats offshore, off the right wing of american politics in the open water. there is tea party republican senator rand paul of ken tuck whoa promised he would be an isolationist. rand paul is using a situation in egypt to call for imlosing nation of all u.s. to foreign countries. including israel. the crisis is the perfect opportunity to end that foreign
aid once and for all. what do they need us for? he is not atwater's edge. further offshore are would be contender and former chairman of the house committee. they are casting aside the u.s. government and siding with mubarak against the opposition movement in the streets. he is saying freedom is radicalized and enemies are subverting egypt. mr. bolton, noted proponent of democracy anywhere and everywhere is not a fan in this particular case. if you get further off the water's edge, you will get to the conservative website red state.com about how the unions and the media and the state department are foemting chaos. left leaning media corporations
are more directly involved in the turn moil than they are publicly admitting. no acorn? pam gellar from the fear ground zero mosque fame, gellar's take on what's going on is obama has been secretly supporting this revolution for three years. really? anyone who sees this as a good thing secretly dreams of the annihilation of israel. did you know you were secretly dreaming of israel? she is tapped into the psychy that no one knew they had. want to go further, you are welcome to, but it may be dangerous to the health of your computer. want to see what he found was spectacular that involved sarah palin and christ wire.org the escalating crisis in egypt could be a defining moment for sarah palin. she needs to speak out for an